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Acta Psychologica Sinica
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Friend-reference Effect in Older Adults
ZHOU AiBao;LIU PeiRu;ZHANG YanChi;YIN YuLong
(School of Psychology, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China)
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Abstract  

 A great deal of research adopting the self-reference effect (SRE) paradigm has investigated whether an individual’s self-construal includes intimate others, such as Mother or Friend. Most of the studies used undergraduates as subjects, but no research has investigated the friend-reference effect in older adults. So two experiments were conducted to investigate whether older adults can show friend-reference effect and to examine the feature of this effect.

Thirty-six urban and 36 rural older adults participated in Experiment 1. A 3 (Reference Condition: Self, Friend vs. Lu Xun) × 2 (Living Area: City vs. Countryside) mixed design was used. A repeated measure ANOVA for the rate of free recall revealed that both urban and rural older adults showed a friend-reference effect and a self-reference effect, F(2, 140) = 13.46, p< 0.001, η2 = 0.16. In order to investigate the difference between the friend-reference effect and the SRE, we computed the reference effect index (the friend-reference effect index = free recall rate of friend-related items – free recall rate of other-related items; the SRE index = free recall rate of self-related items – free recall rate of other-related items). Then a 2 (Reference Effect Index: Self vs. Friend) × 2 (Living Area: City vs. Countryside) mixed design was used. A significant interaction between Reference Effect Index and Living Area was significant, F(1, 70) = 8.03, p = 0.006, η2 = 0.10. Simple effects analysis revealed that compared to rural elderly people, the friend-reference effect index was much bigger than the SRE index in urban elderly people, p = 0.042.
Thirty-six older urban adults with low-levels of education and well-educated rural elderly adults volunteered to participate in Experiment 2. A 3 (Reference Condition: Self, Friend vs. Lu Xun) × 2 (Level of education: High vs. Low) mixed design was used. A repeated measure ANOVA on the free recall rate revealed that both older urban adults with low-levels of education and well-educated rural elderly showed the friend-reference effect and the SRE, F(2, 140) = 10.65, p< 0.001, η2 = 0.13. A 2 (Reference Effect Index: Self vs. Friend) × 2 (Level of education: High vs. Low) mixed design was used. A significant interaction between Reference Effect Index and Level of education was significant, F(1, 70) = 7.72, p = 0.007, η2 = 0.10. Simple effects analysis revealed that compared to urban elderly people with low-levels of education, the friend- reference effect index was much bigger than the SRE index in well-educated urban elderly.

These results suggested that Friend was included in one’s self-construal for elder people. And the level of education plays an important role in the friend-reference effect of elderly people.

Keywords friend-reference effect      self-reference effect      reference effect index      self-construal      older adults     
Corresponding Authors: ZHOU AiBao, E-mail: zhoulabpapers@163.com   
Issue Date: 25 September 2015
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ZHOU AiBao
LIU PeiRu
ZHANG YanChi
YIN YuLong
Cite this article:   
ZHOU AiBao,LIU PeiRu,ZHANG YanChi, et al. Friend-reference Effect in Older Adults[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01143
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01143     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2015/V47/I9/1143
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